• Emily Reul, PT, DPT

Men Have Pelvic Floors, Too!

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

June is Men’s Health month, so let’s hear it for the boys! Although many times, when we talk about pelvic health we hear it in reference to women, men have pelvic floors, too. Just like women, men can get pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction can affect men of all ages!

Due to differences in anatomy and childbirth, women are often more susceptible to pelvic floor disorders, but men often suffer from many of the same issues like urinary incontinence, constipation, pain, and sexual dysfunction.

Let’s take a brief look at male anatomy. Males lack a vagina, but they have a prostate (a large gland that makes secretions for sperm) that sits underneath the bladder.


In males, the urethral canal (where pee leaves the bladder to exit the body) is much longer than in females.


Even though there are differences, males still have a pelvic floor (made of up many of the same muscles and ligaments as women) that support their pelvic organs and controls peeing, pooping, and sexual function.

When the pelvic floor muscles aren’t working properly, we can start to see the same issues as women. The pelvic floor muscles might be weak, tight, or have trouble doing the right thing at the right time.


SO WHAT PROBLEMS CAN THE PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLE CAUSE?

Incontinence

Men can suffer from incontinence which is ANY INVOLUNTARY leakage of urine (even if it’s just a drop or two). Several conditions can contribute to this including an enlarged prostate (BPH), prostate cancer, and weak pelvic floor muscles.


1 in 7 men is diagnosed with prostate cancer making it the second most common type of cancer in males. (Stallings Roscow, 2016) Sometimes prostate cancer requires a surgery called a radical prostatectomy, where the prostate is taken out. After this surgery, up to 87% of men have incontinence 6 months later. (Stallings Roscow, 2016)


Why is this? There are several reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that removing the prostate decreases the physical support of the bladder. The bladder normally sits on top of the prostate, and removing the prostate can let the bladder fall slightly, contributing to incontinence.


Some studies have shown that pelvic floor muscle training BEFORE prostate removal surgery can help to improve symptoms like urine control and erectile dysf